covid19 Small Business Resources

COVID-19 Small Business Resources

Message from Mayor Vi Lyles

As the impact on the coronavirus situation continues, you should know your city government is focused on the challenges that affect each of you. While our immediate goal is to reduce the spread of this virus to protect lives, we are also very aware of the impact to your businesses.

I understand the sacrifices you are making for the greater good of public health and it has not gone unnoticed.  The City of Charlotte is committed to working with our partners in the coming weeks, months and years to develop assistance for small businesses that are suffering as a result of COVID-19.

Your businesses are the foundation of our economy and we will do everything we can to help you maintain what you have built and cultivated here in Charlotte.

Vi Lyles


Open for Business Initiative

Open for Business is a City of Charlotte initiative supporting small business owners through their COVID-19 recovery. By providing access to capital and other resources, the program is intended to help businesses survive the recovery phase of the pandemic and help prepare businesses to thrive in a post-pandemic future. The initiative is supported by the City of Charlotte City Council.

Visit charlotteopenforbusiness.com to learn more about grant programs, training opportunities and mentorship resources that can help your small business in these challenging times.


Temporary Outside Dining Registration

The City of Charlotte has developed Temporary Outdoor Dining Guidelines to assist restaurant businesses during the State of North Carolina Phase 2 - easing of restrictions. The guidelines allow for restaurants to utilize parking spaces and extra sidewalk/street space for temporary outdoor dining conversion.

Restaurants with dedicated parking may convert up to 25% of parking spaces to temporary outdoor dining. This could allow for more dining capacity while complying with the City of Charlotte Zoning Ordinance and Governor Cooper’s phase 2 requirements. There is no permit fee to enter the program. This program will be available for 90 days starting May 22, 2020, or until the full lifting of Governor Roy Cooper’s phased reopening, whichever is sooner. Restaurants are required to register temporary outdoor dining with the City of Charlotte and comply with the requirements outlined in the Temporary Outdoor Dining Guidelines.

Temporary outdoor dining must comply with the City of Charlotte Noise Ordinance, and not be in use during the hours of 11 p.m. through 8 a.m. All temporary dining is required to be inspected by the Fire marshal. Restaurants may contact the Fire Marshal to schedule an inspection at  ​704.336.8374.


Local Resources for Micro Businesses (five or less employees)

City of Charlotte Micro Business Relief Fund (MBRF)

Beginning Monday, May 4, at noon, micro businesses with five or fewer employees can apply through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

As part of a COVID-19 relief partnership with LISC, the fund will support 100 micro businesses located within opportunity corridors by providing $1 million in grants.

Mecklenburg County Microbusiness Stabilization Fund

Mecklenburg County has created a COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Stabilization Loan Fund and a Micro Business Stabilization Fund, effective Monday, April 13. Funds will be distributed to qualifying small businesses and micro businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Disbursements will be made available within 10 days of a completed application. Learn more about stabilization funds.

Mecklenburg Creatives Resiliency Fund

The Mecklenburg Creatives Resiliency Fund helps creatives in Mecklenburg County recover from personal emergencies by helping pay unanticipated, emergency expenses or by augmenting lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity.

The Arts & Science Council will provide flat $500 awards to applicants who meet the fund criteria if funding is available. Only one request for support will be considered per Mecklenburg County applicant who demonstrates lost compensation or expenses at least equal to $500, incurred as a result of COVID-19 precautionary measures. Learn more about the resiliency fund.

Charlotte is Creative Grants

Under the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order, Charlotte is Creative has temporarily transitioned its Helpful, Unfettered Gifts (HUG) to $100 HUG micro-grants available for creative individuals and organizations developing projects and initiatives across the city that can be enjoyed by everyone online. Learn more about HUG funding.


Local Resources for Small Businesses (50 or less employees)

Small Business Partner Support Grant

The City of Charlotte will accept proposals beginning Monday, June 1 for the Small Business Partner Support Grant, which will allow our partners to serve the small business community as they maneuver through this difficult time. The Small Business Partner Support Grant is a $2 million fund to provide grants to small business ecosystem partners focusing on COVID-19 impact relief. Funds may be used to provide programs, projects, or services to the local small business community. The maximum grant is $250,000 and must be used by December 30, 2020.

The application will open on Monday, June 1 at Noon and will closed on Thursday, June 11 at 5 p.m. Grants will be awarded by the end of June. Apply for the Small Business Partner Support Grant here.

COVID-19 Small Business Toolkit

Mecklenburg County’s COVID-19 toolkit provides detailed information for small business owners preparing to reopen their businesses to the public. Download the toolkit.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

LISC is supporting the small business community through multiple partnerships, including the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund which provides grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19. View more LISC resources.

Mecklenburg County Business Stabilization Loan Program

Mecklenburg County has partnered with Carolina Small Business Development Fund to create a program designed to assist the county's small businesses. Find out more about who qualifies and how to apply COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Stabilization Loan Fund.

Charlotte Business Resources

A list of resources to help your small business respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and support the economic health and well-being of the Charlotte business community. Visit Charlotte Business Resources.

NCWorks Career Center Services

Charlotte Works has temporarily closed its career centers until further notice. Charlotte Works will continue to serve clients virtually via phone appointments and online.

Central Piedmont Small Business Center

The Small Business Center has moved its programming and free one-on-one business counseling to a virtual platform, including hosting bi-weekly free webinars to help business owners gain skills to pivot during this time.

Prospera

Prospera activated their internal contingency plan to provide their in-language business seminars and individual consultations virtually.

Charlotte SCORE

Charlotte SCORE has moved all its one-on-one business counseling sessions to phone calls or virtual meetings and converted many in-person seminars to webinars.

Women's Business Center of Charlotte

The Women's Business Center has moved all seminars through June to online platforms, increased the frequency of its newsletter, and started hosting weekly, live interviews with key leaders.

COVID-19 Resource Portal

The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance resource portal is a comprehensive list of business information from across the region, including a list of who's hiring in the area. Access the business resource portal.

Pitch In. Take Out.

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority has compiled a list of local establishments offering various takeout options such as carry-out, curbside pickup and third-party delivery. By giving them your business, you'll be helping to save theirs. Find a local establishment.

Support Local or Else

Support Local or Else is a network where people can engage local businesses remotely. Access the Charlotte business listing.

supportCLT

The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce and CLT Geek have launched supportCLT, a comprehensive list of small business resources, to help small business owners and community members throughout the Charlotte region. Learn more about supportCLT.


Resources for Nonprofit Organizations

COVID-19 Response Fund

The COVID-19 Response Fund is a county-wide initiative to help individuals and families in Mecklenburg County impacted by the pandemic, with a special emphasis on providing for the basic human needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents. The program issues grant funding to eligible nonprofits that can meet existing community needs. Funding is restricted to Mecklenburg County organizations offering programming and services for residents. The next cycle of funding opens Monday, April 20, at 10 a.m., and closes Friday, May 1, at noon. View grant guidelines.


State Resources

North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan

The Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan program is primarily designed to be a timely source of bridge financing until businesses can access SBA Disaster or other federal disaster funding. Learn more about the recovery loan program.

North Carolina Restaurant Workers Relief Fund

Any hospitality employee of a North Carolina restaurant or hotel facing significant financial hardship due to a lay-off, furlough or reduction in hours as a direct result of COVID-19 can apply for the NC Restaurants Workers Relief Fund. Learn more about the fund and how to apply.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

NCDHHS has a comprehensive list of executive orders passed by Roy Cooper that impact businesses in North Carolina, and resources guidance on how to continue modified operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about NCDHHS resources.

Rapid Recovery Loans

In response to the unique economic challenges of COVID-19, a consortium of public, private, and nonprofit partners has come together and launched a recovery lending program to support entrepreneurs and stabilize the North Carolina small business sector. Apply for a Rapid Recovery Loan.

North Carolina Business Relief Resources

Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. BLNC staff will connect your business to the appropriate organization for assistance. All inquiries will receive a response from a confidential business counselor within three (3) business days. Learn more about BLNC resources.


Federal Resources

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance & Resources

SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Applicants can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application.

Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

NC Small Business and Technology Development Center's Guide to SBA Emergency Loans

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The U.S. Department of Treasury CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries. Learn more about the CARES Act.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Inner City Innovation Hubs Program

The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Inner City Innovation Hubs program will focus on research and technology transfer, digital innovation, artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship in support of minority-owned start-ups and entrepreneurs with innovative products or services. The program will fuel minority business innovation in inner city areas with high concentrations of minority persons and minority-owned businesses. Learn more about MBE Inner City Innovation Hubs here.


Other Helpful Resources

Carolinas Alliance COVID-19 Match Site

Carolinas Alliance COVID-19 Match Site is dedicated to matching the needs of the Carolinas’ healthcare providers, businesses and government organizations with manufacturers, vendors, suppliers and talent who can help deliver crucial supplies and Personal Protection Equipment.

Resources for Economic Development

RestoreYourEconomy provides up-to-date information related to COVID-19 and its economic impacts. Learn more about economic development resources.

GoFundMe Small Business Relief Initiative

The Small Business Relief Initiative was started by GoFundMe to help small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and empower their communities to rally behind them. GoFundMe has partnered with Yelp, Intuit QuickBooks, GoDaddy, and Bill.com to provide small business owners with the financial support and resources needed to continue running their businesses during and after the coronavirus crisis. Learn more about the relief initiative.

Hello Alice Business Resources Center

The Hello Alice business resource center is updated daily to provide the latest funding, resources and support information for small business owners adapting to the impacts of COVID-19. Access the Hello Alice business resource center.

James Beard Foundation Relief Fund

The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund provides critical financial assistance to small, independent restaurants that, due to the COVID-19 national disaster, have an immediate need for funds to pay set operating expenses and keep from going out of business. Learn more about the relief fund.

LinkedIn Learning Courses

LinkedIn Learning is offering free learning paths to help employees better adapt to remote working, learn new skills and manage teams through uncertain times. Learn more about LinkedIn Learning courses.

Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation (RWCF)

RWCF is collecting information and links to resources that will help restaurants and workers deal most effectively with the COVID-19 Emergency. Learn more about resources for restaurants.

Small Business Rebound Program

The Small Business Rebound Program leverages MBA talent from top universities such as Stanford, Duke, UNC and Clemson. MBAs will assist with general strategy and business model redesign, finance and cash management plans, marketing, data and analytics, and more.